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Morten Hansen Quotes

Morten Hansen

Morten Hansen quotes: on getting better at business and avoiding burnout.

“We can change skill levels through training. We can’t change attitudes.”

“Improve your skills and job rating with a focus on quality, not quantity.”

“Focus will get you to average. Top performers not only focus but obsess over a few things.”

“Top performers do less. We live in a world where we strive to do more to succeed: we take on more assignments, go to more meetings, fly around, network more, get online 24/7, and so on, yet we don’t pause to ask, ‘Is this the best way to work?’ It turns out, it isn’t. That’s an uncomfortable piece of news to many, including myself: I do more and stress to get it all done, believing it is the road to success—yet it isn’t. Of course, the good news is that we can change that and perform better, and have better lives, too.”

“My true lesson for a good work habit: it’s how you work—and not how hard—that matters. It’s hard to feel happy when you’re burning out working. The solution is to ‘do less.’ Cut priorities and zoom in on what matters the most.”

“When we think of improving our skills, we often invoke our parents’ mantra: ‘Practice makes perfect.’ We keep repeating a work-task, like making a sales pitch, putting in massive amounts of practice. But this ‘quantity’ approach to skills improvement is misleading. One year of practice repeated in the same way for 10 years doesn’t make perfect.”

“The idea is that you have a lower threshold and then you have an upper limit. You must hit the targets you set for yourself no matter what. You don’t go too far on any day, month or quarter.”

“In 1994, Bill Gates said, ‘Fear should guide you.’ That’s an apt description. He wrote what became known as the ‘nightmare’ memo, outlining everything that could possibly go wrong with Microsoft. At the time, things were going pretty well. Now that is being very fearful or hypervigilant about what’s going on around you in your environment as the leader. But you can’t just be fearful, you often need to be productive, and you need to channel that fear into something concrete.”

“Select a small set of important priorities and work exceptionally hard on them.”

“Produce valuable, high-quality results rather than mindlessly meeting goals.”

“Learn from mistakes and avoid mindless repetition.”

“Look for roles in the workplace that coincide with abilities and interests.”

“Work together with others.”

“Find tasks that are inspiring and give work purpose. Find a job that aligns with your interests and abilities, but also to seek purpose in other areas of life so that you are not left looking to work as your only source of validation.”

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

“The great task, rarely achieved, is to blend creative intensity with relentless discipline so as to amplify the creativity rather than destroy it. When you marry operating excellence with innovation, you multiply the value of your creativity.”

“A common assumption is that the unwillingness to change will lead to a lackluster business. Though not a positive attribute but not as severe as the company that chronically changes, never creating an experience anticipated by its ideal customers. Therein lies the mediocre company, never finding itself, we’ve all seen them before. Mixed messaging, not really knowing who their audience is, and providing underwhelming experience, one after another (kinda like if you were to put a business on the iPod setting shuffle).”

“The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change; the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”

“If you’re waiting for that aha moment when the universe collides with your intellect and you get the next big idea for your company, you should probably reassess your goals.  Innovation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a healthy does of empirical creativity and fanatic discipline to create something that is of revolutionary caliber. Though some technological advances may seem to be one brilliant idea from an outside perspective, when really they were iteration after iteration of testing and adapting. Think about that the next time you sit down for your annual ‘strategy planning sessions,’ you can bank on the fact that your first attempt at anything new is going to fail. It’s how you react to that failure that really matters.”

“The iPod story illustrates a crucial point: a big successful venture can look in retrospect like a single step creative breakthrough when, in fact, it came about as a multistep iterative process based more upon empirical validation than visionary genius. The marriage of fanatic discipline and empirical creativity better explains Apple’s revival than breakthrough innovation per se.”

“Top performers in my study did follow their passions. But as our data showed, that wasn’t enough. In fact, some people who followed their passion exclusively ended up in misery. The dictum ‘follow your passion’ can be dangerous. The best performers did something else: they infused both passion and a sense of purpose into their jobs. Purpose and passion are very different. Passion is ‘do what you love,’ while purpose is ‘do what contributes.’ Purpose asks, ‘What can I give the world?’ Passion asks, ‘What can the world give me?’ You have a sense of purpose when you make valuable contributions to others (individuals or organizations) or to society that you find personally meaningful and that don’t harm anyone. People who match passion with purpose perform much better, on average, than those who lack either purpose or passion or both.”

“I uncovered three steps that high performers adopt to grow passion and purpose in their current organizations. First, they discover new roles in their organizations: jobs that better tap their passions and give them a stronger sense of purpose. Second, they expand what I call their ‘circle of passion.’ Feeling passionate about work isn’t just about taking pleasure in the work itself. Passion can also come from success, creativity, social interactions, learning, and competence. High performers tap into these dimensions as well. Finally, to derive a greater sense of purpose, high performers find ways to add more value in their jobs, to pursue activities that they find personally meaningful, and to pursue activities that have a clear social mission.”

“We can choose to restrict the scope of our work and to obsess to excel over the few priorities we’ve selected. Of course, that is not easy to do. The best handle this by becoming good at saying ‘no.’ That’s a key skill to learn to succeed in today’s hectic workplace.”

“Managing stress and generally feeling happier at work includes spending time away to refresh and recharge, not taking setbacks personally, and not fighting dirty when engaged in a conflict with an opponent at work. By identifying these and other principles that have been proven to work, you will achieve better results and more happiness at work.”

“Work less and obsess is the best way to avoid burning out. While finding a passion and purpose is the factor that most affects overall job satisfaction.”

“It turns out that the way to achieve both better performance and better wellbeing isn’t to put in more hours, as so many people think, and then to buttress your personal life with ironclad boundaries. It’s to concentrate on working smarter. Work on how you work, not on work-life balance.”

“Do less this year but do it better.”

Related: Gary Keller quotes.

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